MARSHALL -Marshall Director of Public Safety Rob Yant figured it was a trick, so he walked up to the standing broom and investigated.
"It's in my nature to be suspicious," Yant said.
The broom was standing alone Tuesday on the floor in city hall - not leaning on a wall, not tied to anything.
Photo by Rae Kruger
Is it physics, or just that time of the year? Employees at city hall in downtown Marshall spent a good part of the day Tuesday wondering how this broom, along with a couple of others there, could be left literally standing alone.
Yant grabbed it and tried to stand it up alone but "I wasn't able to do it."
A custodian took the broom and stood it up again.
The broom was one of three that stood alone in city hall Tuesday. Two were still standing in the afternoon.
"I've never seen anything like that before," said Doug Goodmund of the city's community services. "I've seen where you can balance eggs.
"That one has been here since this morning," Goodmund said about a broom standing on its own in the corridor near the council chambers.
"When we walked into the building this morning three brooms were standing up," Goodmund said. One broom was on the lower level, a second on the street level and a third on the second floor.
"Nobody's touched this one. Everybody's been taking pictures," Goodmund said.
Cathy Lee, the administrative assistant to the city administrator, reacted as Yant did.
"I thought it was a trick broom," Lee said. She grabbed it and then was able to get the broom to stand by itself again.
The folks at city hall aren't really sure why the brooms stood alone Tuesday.
Some heard it was because of the fall equinox, but some were also doubtful since that occurred in September.
Director of community services Harry Weilage, who good-naturedly acknowledged he was often known as a man with vision, said he wasn't sure if the brooms were a sign. He did know "there are forces at work in the universe I choose not to challenge but to go along with."
Web postings including those of various newspapers and newsblogs have stories on brooms standing alone. Some date back to the Sept. 22 equinox.
Some Internet postings credit physics, the alignment of planets, while others say it's simply the bristles and material used to make the broom.
A story on the NWAnews.com Web site, the media Web site for northwest Arkansas, said a local courthouse in White River Valley had standing brooms earlier this month.
A woman in an Oct. 2 story on the Troy Messenger (Ala.) Web site said she stood up a broom by itself on Sept. 22 and the next morning the broom was still there.
"It just stands there. I wish I could get it to sweep," the woman said in the Web site story.
"Maybe it's something in the atmosphere. Maybe it's just Halloween," Goodmund said of the Marshall brooms.